A career as a horse breeder may sound lucrative, but the fact is that it is hard work with a great deal of risk involved. Horses have a gestation period that is approximately 11 months long. This means that you will be in business at least a year before you see any of the fruits of your labor. Horses are also notorious for their reproductive troubles. You could spend thousands of dollars on veterinarian bills only to end up with no pregnancy.
All of this may sound discouraging, but there must be an upside, or no one would want to be a horse breeder. For many people, the sight of a baby animal, one that they helped to bring into the world, is extremely rewarding. Other people are passionate about horses and becoming a horse breeder allows them the opportunity to live their dream. A career as a horse breeder is possible if you are willing to work hard, and operate with your head, as well as your heart.
There are two basic options when entering the world of horse breeding. You can choose to stand a stallion at stud or breed mares. If you stand a stallion at stud, mare owners will pay you in order to breed their mare to your stallion. While you may think you need fancy facilities to do this, nothing could be further from the truth.
Many horse breeders prefer to use artificial insemination (AI) to impregnate the mares. The risk of physical injury to both mare and stallion is negligible this way, and the odds of a successful pregnancy may actually be higher than with traditional breeding, which is known as live cover. While the process of collecting semen for AI is straightforward, the stallion’s success rate will be tied to how the semen is prepared for shipment to the mare. Many stallion owners ship their boys to a veterinarian for the collection process. For a fee, the veterinarian will collect semen from the stallion and prepare it for shipment.
If you are a mare owner, your facilities are more important. The mare needs to have plenty of low-stress exercise while pregnant and, once she foals, her and her baby will need a place to play. A barn with fields where she can be turned out to romp and graze is important.
If you are a stallion owner, becoming a horse breeder is a matter of effective marketing. You must get your stallion’s name out so that mare owner’s will want to breed to him. With the widespread use of AI many mare owners choose a stallion that they have never seen, so excellent pictures and videos are an important part of the marketing package.
If you are a mare owner, it is important to realize that even if everything in your breeding business goes well, you are years away from making a profit. Before you sell your first foal, you will have multiple expenses to pay as well. You cannot skimp on veterinarian care or food for your pregnant mare and later, her foal.
You will need to keep the foal for at least four months before selling it. Many people do not have facilities to manage a foal. Breeders often find that they get better prices and have an easier time selling if they keep their babies until they are trained to ride, at three years. This means that you could have anywhere from three to five horses on the property at any one time. Medical bills and veterinarian fees will add up quickly, even for healthy horses.